The team announced Friday that 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson will remain at Hendrick Motorsports until at least 2026.
Larson, who is fighting for his second consecutive championship, will be sponsored by HendrickCars.com in 35 races each season, making it one of the only partnerships spanning more than 30 races per year. The contract extension for both the driver and the sponsor comes as HendrickCars.com reported “an annual increase in organic traffic to HendrickCars.com and a two-fold increase in conversions, vehicle driving, online customer interactions, trade appraisals and hiring apps.”
The 30-year-old racer joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2021 after spending his first eight seasons in the Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson was suspended by Nascar and subsequently expelled in April of 2020 from CGR after uttering racial slurs during a live broadcast of a virtual race in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Larson went through the NASCAR replay program. Not only did he complete his diversity training, but he even went so far as to repent of what he called “the mistake.”
He deactivated his social media accounts and focused on repenting of his mistake, meeting with black leaders such as Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, former soccer player Tony Sane and more.
“I am so grateful for this second opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it,” Larsson said in November after winning the championship. “I had lost so much hope of coming back, I didn’t know what the meeting was going to be like. I had ideas about what it would be like, and in the end it was what I thought it would be.”
Larson started his charity by advertising the Drive for 5 program, which raised more than $500,000 last year to support students with scholarships at the Racing School. In addition, he set out to provide meals to five families each day with the Sanneh Foundation and support five communities in need through the Hendrik Kerr Scholastic Scholarships.
Now, the California native is focusing on his future with Hendrick Motorsports, serving as a role model for those who get second chances.
“I cannot explain what this opportunity means,” Larson said in a statement Friday. “The chance to compete for the best team and best sponsors in the race is something every driver dreams of. I am humbled to have incredible people in my corner and fantastic support from so many fans.
“Thank you to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group for believing in me, Cliff [Daniels, crew chief] and our team. Even though we’ve done some great things so far, I really think our best is ahead of us.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick echoed Larson’s comments, saying “the expectations have been very high” since the beginning of this relationship.
“To say he passed them would be an understatement,” Hendrick said. “Kyle has not only established himself as a champion driver, but has delivered championship-level performance outside of the race car. We are proud to continue our relationship and to see him represent our team and our brands in such positive ways. The coming years are very bright.”
Larson has two Nascar Cup Series wins this year, along with an Xfinity Series victory at Watkins Glen.
With seven races remaining in the 2022 season, Larsson is determined to win his second consecutive championship. If he can win it all, he will be the first driver in the Cup Series since Jimmy Johnson to win back-to-back championships.